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'Fantastic Four' doesn't work on any level
What's in with Justin
None of the performances in "Fantastic Four" impressed reviewer Justin Hall. - photo by Studio photo

“Fantastic Four” marks a reboot by 20th Century Fox to reinvent the iconic Marvel Comics characters after three previous cinematic attempts, and I’m here to say this newest incarnation is far from fantastic.

In fact, this reboot is so bad, it makes the previous efforts look like Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy — and that is an insult to the “Dark Knight” trilogy.

The movie basically retells the origin story of how four friends acquired superpowers, all very different from one another. Miles Teller plays Reed Richards, a science whiz. Jamie Bell plays his best friend, Ben Grimm. Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan play Sue and Johnny Storm, brother and sister. Together, they’re chosen for a top-secret government project that will allow them to take a machine through a parallel dimension to discover new worlds.

The journey to a new planet is a success, but a green substance there infects them, giving them unique abilities in addition to altering their genomes.

Richards suddenly can stretch long lengths, Sue can become invisible, Johnny can turn himself into a human flame, and Grimm becomes a gigantic creature known as the Thing, which looks like hardened rocky-road ice cream. That, in itself, is an insult to rocky-road ice cream.

Toby Kebbell plays Victor Von Doom, another researcher along for the ride, but his experience drives him insane, and he later wants to transpose the world they found with their own. Oh, and by the way, the planet they discover looks like a second-rate version of something from one of the “Alien” movies. That, in itself, is an insult to “Alien.”

“Fantastic Four” takes a long time — and I do mean a really long time — to get going with its convoluted plot, sleep-inducing pace, lifeless characters, inane dialogue, cheesy special effects and ludicrous performances. Didn’t these people know they were supposed to be making a Marvel movie?

The only actor in the movie who self-consciously gets how absurd and pointless is Reg E. Cathey, whose acting and delivery as Sue and Johnny’s father are pretty much in sleep mode, with his lines sounding like he just woke up to answer the phone.

Spoiler alert: Stan Lee does not make his usual cameo; he must’ve read the script.

And now, 106 minutes of my life are gone forever.

Grade: D

(Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language.)

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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